After our night in Ollantaytambo it was time for our bus group to split-up. Some had booked to do a three-day Inca Trail hike, camping along the trail. A week before we arrived there had been a landslide along the Inca Trail and a person had died. Therefore, the people that had booked this were offered alternate activities, one being a hike along the Lares Trek, which turned out to be a large loop through the Andes mountains hiking up to elevations of 4200M/13800ft.
We had no interest in doing this hike and camping on the ground along the way. We had other plans and wanted to visit other points of interest instead. With the group splitting into two we had until 10am that morning before our bus would arrived to take us to our next location. We made the decision that we would utilise this time and visit Ollantaytambo Ruins. These Inca ruins were also located in Ollantaytambo but in the Northwest quadrant of the town. We had seen these ruins from our trek up to Pinkuylluna the day before.
The view of Ollantaytambo Ruins from Pinkuylluna.
We set off across the village again to the entrance of the Sitio Arqueologico De Ollantaytambo (Ollantaytambo Archeological Site).
We started our climb to the top, this was slow as we still had not totally climatized to the elevation difference.
It’s amazing how some of these large stones are shaped and fit together without mortar. How did they do this all those years ago, especially with all these different angles, shapes and sizes?
Again, we found pockets of wild flowers and cactuses along the hillside.
We ventured through the town square on our way back and noticed a couple of statues representing Inca history.
We returned to our hotel and caught the bus back to Cusco, but first it was off to our next destination. Along the way back we had a quick photo stop to see some Pods located on the side of the mountain where you can stay overnight.
We also stopped along the way to view the Sacred Valley from a higher elevation, overlooking the town of Urubamba.
Continuing along we visited the village of Marasal. Here there are manmade pools to harvest salt. This salt is similar to Himalayan Pink Salt but has higher mineral content. There is a saltwater spring that comes out of the mountain that feeds the pools. Whenever someone in the village is born, they are given a pool, when they die the pool is returned to the community to be allocated to a new arrival.
Here is one of the local women was washing some clothes after working in the salt pools, these people still dress in their traditional clothing.
From here it is off to Moray. Moray is another archeological site built by the Inca’s, this is an agricultural site that is built in natural indentations within the ground. One of these indentations has been restored.
Moray (Quechua: Muray) is an archaeological site in Peru approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Cuzco on a high plateau at about 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has an irrigation system.
The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom. (Wikipedia)
From here we headed back to Cusco stopping on the way at another local Finca, called Piuray Outdoor Center. It was located on a lake where they produced and served local produce. Some of the produce was local trout. This trout is in-fact Canadian Speckled Trout that was introduced at one time and has thrived. This has become a good source of protein for the local population.
Now it was time to finally head back to Cusco.
The next day was a free day with nothing planned. We thought about going to see the Rainbow Mountain, but would have had to be up and ready to leave at 3am to get there. This would have also meant a 5-hour hike at over 5000M/16400ft of altitude we therefore decided against this activity.
Instead we had a lazy day in Cusco where we strolled around town and found a fusion restaurant for dinner. The couple who owned it were of two different nationalities, you can tell where they were from by the restaurant sign.
We both settled on Alpaca, Catherine’s meal was served with a mashed potatoes and Stewart’s was served with mashed Yucca which was very good.
Next: The Old Mountain